Author Topic: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...  (Read 3383 times)

Offline commatose

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due to a deadline, push is quickly approaching shove.

1. should a comma be placed after 'but of course' in the following sentence:
It could be argued the entire ship is reborn with every jump, but of course it means nothing to inorganic matter.

2.in the same vein- how about a comma after 'however'.
Vacations aren't taboo, however they are seen as frivolous.
(i know 'However' is with comma when at sentence start)

3. again- with 'on the other hand'.
Sleeping is necessary. On the other hand jumping is fun.

4. one more. 'if possible'.
Since thereís a limit to the distance a leap can cover, if possible they are planned to take us to a planet on our list of qualified candidates for seeding, rather than to a spot in empty space.

5. is this sentence correct for commas?
Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit I could leave the craft and observe, almost mingle with, the sparser, yet average, local populace.


6. same question, correct for commas?
On this mission I stayed asleep from the first jumpís dosage, rather than submit myself, for no good reason, to twenty-nine awakenings like I was now experiencing.

thanks for any help.
steve
steve
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Offline raevan

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2006, 02:29:14 AM »
I'm probably not qualified to answer but here's my two cents anyway :)

1. I don't think so
2. I think so
3. I think so
4. No idea I'd just rewrite the sentence
5. I would put "observe - almost mingle with - the sparser, yet average local populace"
6. Er, again I'd rewrite the sentence... it looks okay though

Offline Nick

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2006, 04:26:17 AM »
I can never resist having a go at this type of question, so here's my two cents too...

1. Should a comma be placed after 'but of course' in the following sentence:
It could be argued the entire ship is reborn with every jump, but of course it means nothing to inorganic matter.

No, I don't think so. It's fine as it is. If you want to parenthesize 'of course', however, you should probably put commas both sides and remove the comma before 'but', so it reads as follows:

It could be argued the entire ship is reborn with every jump but, of course, it means nothing to inorganic matter.

2. in the same vein- how about a comma after 'however'.
Vacations aren't taboo, however they are seen as frivolous.


The problem is that this is two sentences shunted together with a comma - an error sometimes known as a comma splice. You need a full stop after taboo, and a comma after however.

Vacations aren't taboo. However, they are seen as frivolous.

3. again- with 'on the other hand'.
Sleeping is necessary. On the other hand jumping is fun.

I think you need a comma after hand. Otherwise, a reader might think you are referring to a slightly dubious sounding practice called 'hand jumping'.

4. one more. 'if possible'.
Since thereís a limit to the distance a leap can cover, if possible they are planned to take us to a planet on our list of qualified candidates for seeding, rather than to a spot in empty space.


I'm not entirely sure I understand this sentence, but I think putting a comma after possible would confuse matters further. The phrase 'if possible' clearly refers to the following clause rather than the preceding one, so I would definitely avoid inserting a comma here. I'm not sure that 'planned' is quite the word you want, though. Maybe 'intended' would be better? And what does the pronoun 'they' refer to?

Later addition: I've just realised that 'they' refers to [hyperspace?] leaps. The fact that you used the singular in the first clause and the plural in the second confused me a bit! Better to put them both in the plural, I think:

Since thereís a limit to the distance leaps can cover, if possible they are planned to take us to a planet on our list of qualified candidates for seeding, rather than to a spot in empty space.

5. is this sentence correct for commas?
Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit I could leave the craft and observe, almost mingle with, the sparser, yet average, local populace.


Yes, it's OK, though a bit staccato! Again, I find the adjectives at the end of the sentence a bit confusing. Are they really contributing anything useful? I'd probably simplify this sentence a bit, and maybe use a pair of dashes instead of commas:

Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit I could leave the craft and observe - almost mingle with - the local populace.

6. same question, correct for commas?
On this mission I stayed asleep from the first jumpís dosage, rather than submit myself, for no good reason, to twenty-nine awakenings like I was now experiencing.


Yes, that's OK. I would though suggest that you change 'like' to 'such as'.

Hope that helps!

Nick  :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2006, 05:42:08 AM by Nick »
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline DCSchreibt

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2006, 04:33:24 AM »
I'm also suffering with comma problems at the moment.  I'm guilty of having used the 'comma splice' but a very kind editor pointed me in the right direction. :)

I'm now, slowly and painfully, relearning grammar rules and am using a book called "Good Punctuation".

According to this book, the conjunction 'however' nearly always requires a semi-colon in front of it.  Therefore, you could write your sentence: Vacations aren't taboo, however they are seen as frivolous.

As "Vacations aren't taboo; however they are seen as frivolous."

Just Write Something!

Offline Nick

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2006, 05:17:02 AM »
Yes, I'd agree with this. A semi-colon, like a full stop, can be used to separate two independent clauses; however, you still need a comma after 'however'!

"Vacations aren't taboo; however, they are seen as frivolous."

It's a matter of choice whether you use a semi-colon or a full stop. Personally I wouldn't agree that a semi-colon is 'nearly always' used. As my old English teacher Mr Sanders (God rest his soul) used to say, "Semi-colons are 99% of a full stop". I might argue that the percentage is a bit less than that, but the main thing is they are a slightly less emphatic way of separating two independent clauses. So you might prefer to use a semi-colon if you want a stronger sense of unity between the two clauses.

Punctuation - don't you just love it  ;)

Nick
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Offline DCSchreibt

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2006, 05:22:06 AM »
Ooops!   :-[  There I go omitting commas again!  Sorry!

I'm personally using semi-colons more as a way of avoiding comma splice.  I wouldn't mind but I got a B in O level  English Language at school and an A level in it!  It just goes to show either a:  how much we forget as we get older or
b: that we weren't taught that much grammar at school even then!

Thanks for the clarification!

Dawn
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Offline commatose

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2006, 10:45:18 AM »
thanks everyone! got it.
it's funny how easy it is to see the obvious when it's presented to you.

my whole life i have never used semi-colons. i must have missed that day in school. i'm now seeing what a good friend they can be.

this club rocks!
steve
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Niagara Falls- NIAGARA FALLS!.... Slowly i turned, step by step...inch by inch...I took my revenge. -vaudeville bit

Offline Bob B.

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2006, 10:46:00 AM »
  Technically, I think it sould probably be something like this:

It could be argued the entire ship is reborn with every jump; but, of course, it means nothing to inorganic matter.

Another way with slight variation might be:

It could be argued the entire ship is reborn with every jump--but this means nothing to inorganic matter.


Offline Bob B.

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 10:55:24 AM »
     I know you're posting odd sentences from your work, so it is not fair of me to nit pick stuff that me be clearer in context; but I find several of these posted sentences virtually incomprehensible.  Example:

Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit I could leave the craft and observe, almost mingle with, the sparser, yet average, local populace.

Something a bit less awkward might be:

Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit I could leave the craft to observe and almost mingle with the sparser, yet average, local populace.

Offline commatose

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 01:18:32 PM »
bob,
nit pick away. no problem.
i appreciate the consideration. :)
steve
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Niagara Falls- NIAGARA FALLS!.... Slowly i turned, step by step...inch by inch...I took my revenge. -vaudeville bit

Telcontar

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 02:53:49 PM »
Hi Commatose,

Well, I'm not particularly technically minded when it comes to writing, though I'm learning fast thanks to some of Dale's posts! However, for what my two cent's are worth, I didn't have any problem understanding your sentences.

I did, like Nick, pick up on the singular/plural in the fourth one, and yes, two plurals make more sense. For the fifth sentence, I did the 'read it aloud' trick, and personally I think it sounds better thus:

Thanks to my stealthy envirosuit, I could leave the craft and observe, almost mingle, with the sparser yet average local populace.


Dave.

Offline commatose

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 08:25:07 PM »
thanks Telcontar,
i like that too. i'll go with it unless someone convincingly disputes its correctness. i was under the impression 'yet' always merits a comma.

when i do the 'read it aloud' trick, my mind just adjusts, so most everything sounds o.k. ;D
steve
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Niagara Falls- NIAGARA FALLS!.... Slowly i turned, step by step...inch by inch...I took my revenge. -vaudeville bit

Telcontar

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Re: Help! I've been resisting asking these elementry questions, but...
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2006, 09:32:57 PM »
Hi Commatose,

Maybe 'yet' dose always merit a Comma; technically, I wouldn't know; others can adjudicate. But to me, it just reads better as I suggested; glad you like it!

Dave.